F.A.C.T., an organization comprised of students and alumni, wishes to have SGA recognition. And, according to the minutes from Tuesday night’s Senate meeting, 34 senators are in favor of recognizing F.A.C.T. Which is more pathetic: that a group of people that includes both students and non-students thinks that the SGA can approve its existence OR that SGA senators cease to see the problem in approving a so-called student group that has outside funding and non-student members? To me, it is the latter, for it shows what a fabulous job F.A.C.T. has done in brainwashing seemingly the majority of campus into at least listening to an argument based on falsities, an argument that simply does not hold water.
Let us examine Sigma Chi as a case study in how the administration and the ownership of a fraternity house will neither limit nor impair an individual’s or a group’s freedom of speech. Right now, Sigma Chi has two signs on its lawn: one reads, “For Sale Cost: Your Freedom of Speech,” and the other says, “Colgate is Killing Off Frats.” Both of these are directly opposed to what the administration has said throughout the implementation of the New Vision over the past three years; President Chopp just recently sent out a letter explaining the reality behind the acquisitions and how Colgate will not and cannot limit our First Amendment rights. Sigma Chi has not, nor has it ever, owned the house or the property on which it stands; it has always, since they have occupied it, been the property of Colgate University. So, if Sigma Chi has anti-administration banners on its lawn, and Colgate owns that lawn, and Colgate is trying to limit our freedom of speech (as both the signs and F.A.C.T. indicate), then surely both signs should have been ordered off the lawn or Sigma Chi should have been penalized in some way.
For all of F.A.C.T.’s threats of a Greek doomsday, where expressing a collective opinion leads to the death of organizations and individual’s voices, Sigma Chi lives on, defiant, angry, and anti-administration. In the weeks in which the banners have been on the lawn, neither President Chopp nor Dean Weinberg-let alone any of the other Colgate administrators-have stormed the fraternity, demanding that they take their signs down, and Sigma Chi has not been punished, disbanded, or kicked off campus for expressing dissatisfaction with the administration or for displaying F.A.C.T.’s banner.
So, where is the threat? What big bad wolf is coming to blow the banners down, thereby limiting students’ First Amendment rights? F.A.C.T. is living in a fairytale, of demons and heroes; they are flat out lying to the entire Colgate student body by casting themselves in the role of the hero. They have created a fiction in telling all of us that Colgate is looking to limit our rights; they have also proved their own argument entirely wrong. If Colgate was out to slaughter the First Amendment, and this was being done by acquiring houses, Sigma Chi would be the perfect house of which to make an example-after all, they are living on Colgate property, and by F.A.C.T.’s argument, Colgate can do to them as they please. Yet, this already-owned Greek house displays controversial and defiant material on a daily basis, and nothing happens. Nothing happening cannot stand as evidence of a monster lurking under the bed, looking to eat us; nothing happening is evidence that the monster is made up, a figment of one’s imagination.
Let F.A.C.T. fight an imaginary monster. It’ll keep them busy for a lifetime. But let’s not get ourselves and our SGA involved in the battle. I would certainly hope we have infinitely better things to do.